Belief

Like any major brand, it started with humble beginnings. In this case, it was a one-day rail excursion from Leicester to Loughborough.

Fast-forward 170 years, and the company that still bears its founders name has evolved into an industry giant. Thomas Cook has over 30 tour-operating brands, 2,000 travel agencies, 60 aircraft and 30,000 staff. However, big doesn’t necessarily mean best. It might be large, but it’s in trouble.

Thomas Cook’s share price is in free fall. And its debt pile is threatening to bankrupt the company. Read more

What are you Selling?

I got a call this week from a customer of mine. He was ecstatic. His company had just scooped IBM’s prestigious Business Partner of the Year award; a real testament to the sheer grit, determination and passion that his entire team brings to work every day.

As part of collecting the award, he got some time with one of IBM’s Marketing Execs.

The Exec shared a story of getting his bathroom redone. The usual happened. Plenty of workmen came; some huffed, some puffed, some quoted sky high, some quoted rock bottom. But the one he selected didn’t talk about baths, sinks, or even price. Read more

Make Them Look Cool

Every one of us has probably belonged to a fan club at one stage in our lives. As a child of the eighties, I’m familiar with the agony of waiting for an autographed photo to drop through the letterbox.

The chances are, the photo wasn’t authentically hand signed, but merely a duplicated print. But it didn’t matter. If the celebrity was current, it meant real bragging rights at school.

Fast forward to 2013.

Social platforms now give us the ability to communicate with any celebrity at the touch of button. No waiting for that duplicated photo to drop through the mail. Now we can actually have a conversation. What used to be a one-directional monologue (controlled by a PR department) has become a dialogue (with the real star themselves). Read more

Why Don’t You Drink It?

When it comes to advertising claims, the majority of us are sceptics. And it’s no surprise. From beauty creams that make our wrinkles vanish, pills that make our hair grow back, or chocolate bars that are actually good for us. We’ve heard it all before.

A few years back, American entrepreneur Eric Ryan was in London launching his new product; a line of toilet cleaner.

As expected, the audience heard the usual spiel about amazing cleaning qualities. But Eric also claimed something else. He reckoned his product was harmless too. Unlike others, his contained no poisonous nasties. Read more

Gone in a Flash

It started life over 130 years ago as a single chemists shop in Leicester. After years of trading, its owner Frank began to see an unusual demand from customers; they wanted to buy raw ingredients for photographic chemicals.

Frank’s son Alan immediately spotted an opportunity. In 1930’s Britain, photography was a pastime solely for the wealthy. Alan’s dream was to make it accessible to the masses.

He set about transforming his father’s chemists into a haven for photography. With prices at an average of 25% below his nearest competitor, Alan attracted immediate attention. The idea grew, and it wasn’t long before the father and son duo had opened a huge facility in Hinckley Road; later crowned the largest photography store on earth by Guinness World Records.
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